Gawain and the Green Knight bring Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, to the mortal world with their new track “Birds & Wine.” It’s the most recent offering from the duo’s upcoming EP A Sleeping Place, a project largely inspired by Greek mythology. Singer and guitarist Alexia Antoniou immigrated to the US from Greece as a child, so these links are a fun, whimsical nod to her heritage.
“There’s something I really like about taking the abstract and divine – a god – and distilling them into these concrete images,” Antoniou explains. “It’s part of the reason why, when thinking about what supplicants might bring to a sacrifice for Aphrodite, I went with ‘birds and wine’ instead of ‘doves and wine’ – I liked the image of someone pulling up to Aphrodite’s altar with a roast chicken, grease and bones.”
It’s this wit and charm that makes “Birds & Wine” so enchanting, full of imagery like waves “licking [her] feet” and comparing a lover to a seashell. It also doesn’t hurt to have such a mesmerizing instrumental produced by Antoniou’s bandmate, Mike O’Malley.
“I referenced neo-soul tracks (like those from Lake Street Dive and Alabama Shakes) for the percussion textures and Vulfpeck for joyous clarinet solos,” O’Malley shares. “Alexia’s choice of chords lent a lot of opportunity for melting, diminished harmony, so there’s a lot of that in the winds – the feeling of being perpetually gooey-eyed in someone’s presence.”
The duo’s A Sleeping Place comes out on June 21st, lending itself as a soundtrack for otherworldly summer adventures and escapism. Antoniou describes it as “a love letter, full of desperate affection, to anyone who has ever been alive and been scared to die. Death is loud, but it doesn’t mean you were never heard.”